What is Cirrhosis

What is Cirrhosis?
What is Cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is a liver disease characterized by the destruction of healthy liver cells, which are replaced by scar tissue. This condition develops due to continuous, long-standing injury to the liver. As healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissue, the liver’s normal function is impaired, leading to the gradual onset of symptoms. The liver, located in the abdomen, performs several vital functions, including aiding in digestion, metabolizing drugs, producing proteins (essential for bodily functions), and synthesizing clotting factors.

There are various causes of cirrhosis, with excessive alcohol consumption and chronic hepatitis B or C infections being the most common. Other causes include primary biliary cirrhosis, autoimmune chronic active hepatitis, drug and chemical exposure, and metabolic and inherited disorders. Unfortunately, the damage to liver cells in cirrhosis is permanent and irreversible, leading to liver failure over time.

Symptoms of cirrhosis can vary but may include fatigue, loss of appetite, unintended weight loss, itching, abdominal pain or tenderness, visible blood capillaries on the skin, easy bruising and bleeding, hair loss, fever, swelling of legs and abdomen (ascites), changes in nail appearance, breast enlargement in men, jaundice, and neurological symptoms such as insomnia, memory loss, confusion, and difficulty concentrating.

While there is no cure for cirrhosis, treatment focuses on managing symptoms, complications, and underlying diseases. This may involve dietary changes, medications to control symptoms and complications, and in severe cases, liver transplantation. During a liver transplant, the damaged liver is surgically removed and replaced with a healthy donor liver.